The Czech Torah

Temple Beth David has custody one of 1,564 sacred Scrolls from Czechoslovakia that survived the Holocaust. The organization responsible for saving them, the Memorial Scrolls Trust, has distributed over 75 Holocaust scrolls to New England temples, synagogues and other community groups. The amazing story of these scrolls has passed into history as a small but remarkable episode in the tragedy of European Jewry.

The Torah in custody of Temple Beth David was from the small town of Trebic (Treh-bidch). The Trebic Synagogue was first built in 1639. It was renovated several times before being closed in 1941 by a general decree that prohibited public Jewish worship. Of the 1,370 Jews deported from Trebic in 1942, only thirty-five survived the war. The Trebic Torah that resides at Temple Beth David is a memorial to our brothers and sisters of Trebic.

Trebic is a small town about 140 km SE of Praha (what we call “Prague”) Other area Temples in our “Scroll Circle” with Torahs from Trebic include those located in Marblehead at Temple Emanuu-El, and Leominster at Agadit Achim. Other Trebic scrolls reside throughout the United States as well as in Jerusalem, London, Barbados and Canada. According to MST records, there are a total of eighteen (!) congregations with scrolls from Trebic.

In fact, this is the second scroll we were given custody of. According to the framed plaque that hangs across from the library, our first Holocaust Torah came from the MST in February 1986. It was originally from the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague. It was tragically destroyed just one year later when our previous building was destroyed by an arson fire in 1987. The remains of the Pinkas Torah are buried at Sharon Memorial Park together with our other Torahs from that time. Rabbi Zoob requested another Torah from the MST, which we received in 1990.

To learn more about the history and acquisition of these scrolls, visit the Memorial Scrolls Trust site.